Monday Musings: Labor and Orgasms

Monday, December 15, 2008

As I was penning tips on how to travel with kids last week, I myself was getting ready for a 5 day trip with my husband, sans children. We got back last night and while I can't come up with the right word to sum it all up (is "absoluteblisswhydidntwedothisbefore" a word?), I will try to do so with a few words tomorrow.

I can't really come up with a good segue either so let's just get to it: Labor, Delivery, Orgasm? According to the newly-released documentary "Orgasmic Birth," labor causes a surge of hormones and endorphins, which are the same ones present when experiencing sexual pleasure. And, when a baby is going through the birth canal, the same places are being touched that would cause an orgasm. This perfect storm of factors inspired filmmaker Debra Pascali-Bonaro to travel the world and film the births of children by women who believe in this notion and who claim to have had orgasms during labor. The take-away? That the birthing process has the possibility of being a sensuous, sexual event. Per the website for the film, "Orgasmic Birth" delivers "the ultimate challenge to our cultural myths by inviting viewers to see the emotional, spiritual, and physical heights attainable through birth. Witness the passion as birth is revealed as an integral part of woman's sexuality and a neglected human right."

While at first blush the film seems sensationalist and sort of kinky, the crux of it amounts to the idea that, given the right circumstances and attitude, the birth process can be one of pleasure and ecstasy versus--well--horrific pain.

I'm first in line for the epidural, I am anti-pain. But equating the the arrival of my children with the stuff of romance? Hmmm. Not even a 5 day trip to Mexico gets me to that point. What do you think?
17 comments:
SC said...

WOW this is unreal! Must admit, I would gladly trade in my 18 hours of labor (and associated vomiting, back ache, pain I cannot even describe) for orgasms. But I don't really believe this is possible. Guess I have to watch the video...

Anonymous said...

This is disgusting. Seriously, only Americans would need to equate the birth of a child with sexual fulfillment.

Aziza said...

Interesting idea, but I think we can reshape "cultural myths" and make the birthing process one of beauty (versus horror) without making it sexual, you know?

Anonymous said...

This woman is on crack big time. I ended up using a mirror to push out my "little bundle of joy" and I swear to god it it was so gross that I truly thought and told my husband that I would never, never, never be able to have sex ever again.

Shona said...

The website for the film is crazy! I'm curious about her claim that this "orgasmic" birth is "safer" than regular births. Come on??

Anonymous said...

"Neglected human right"?? To have sex while having a baby? Hahahah, somebody call Amnesty International!

Anonymous said...

orgasm schmorgasm, i want to hear about how you managed to take a 5 day trip without children!

SM said...

I am due at the end of December and all of a sudden I am friggin terrified about the pain so you know what? I'm willing to try anything!!

boukman70 said...

I gotta tell ya, the only thing sexual about my wife's 22-hour labor was that _I_ smoked a cigarette afterwards.

Anonymous said...

This is one of the craziest things I have ever, ever heard and I have birthed three babies. I suppose I am for "whatever gets you off" but still.

Archana said...

The Motherlode blog on the NY Times had some pretty funny stuff about this movie - some of the comments over there are fantastic. Having just gone through the birthing experience three months ago, I can say that it was miraculous and thrilling, as well as excruciatingly painful - all in all, nowhere near orgasmic...

Anonymous said...

Wouldn't it be fabulous if giving birth COULD feel like that?!?!

She probably promotes healthy living, positive thinking and natural child birth.

I guess for the experts in mind over matter, who can "tune in" to all those endorphins, child birth probably would feel somewhat better than how they rest of us do it.

Shanti Niketan said...

"This is disgusting. Seriously, only Americans would need to equate the birth of a child with sexual fulfillment. "

What exactly is the disgusting part, in your opinion? Child birth or sexual fulfillment?

Her website is not crazy, as someone else above pointed out. She is promoting natural, organic, childbirth, the way millions of women give birth around the world, as opposed to being prodded, probed, electrified and drugged.

You could just as well replace the word "orgasmic" with "ecstatic".

jaime said...

This made me laugh. Not because I don't believe it is possible, but mainly because I don't think I could do it. After the birth of my first child, labor = unbearable pain is permanently imprinted in my brain, and not even this can change it. On second thought, I guess it's worth a shot to avoid having your parents or in laws in the delivery room!

Shanti Niketan said...

This is where yoga, meditation and deep mind over matter techniques come in. But it requires months, if not years of serious breath and mind control to get to the point where labor is "enjoyed". I don't know if that is entirely possible because labor is often the most intensely painful experience in the history of humankind. But does it have to be like that? I remember hearing stories of tribal women just squatting in a field and the baby popping out. Is this true???

Arati said...

Shanti I have heard those stories too--but never from people I actually know, so that has to mean something?? Most people I know remember labor and delivery as somewhere on the scale of mildly uncomfortable to the most painful experience ever. But I guess there are also those girls who don't even know they are pregnant and go to the prom and pop out a baby in the bathroom so who knows!

Anonymous said...

" girls who don't even know they are pregnant and go to the prom and pop out a baby in the bathroom so who knows!"


It's impossible not to know you're pregnant. It's the most obvious thing in the world.

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